Ten former members of a Utah-based polygamist sect known as the Kingston Group are pursuing punitive damages against the organization after they say it subjected them to years of unpaid labor, sexual violence and human trafficking.
In a lawsuit filed earlier this month, the sect’s ex-members allege: “It is largely through … illegal marriage practices that the [Kingston Group] is able to unlawfully make girls and their children religious martyrs and traffic them for sexual and labor purposes.”
The lawsuit contains explicit details of how Kingston Group leaders – who also own and operate several businesses and schools in the suburbs of Utah’s capital, Salt Lake City – allegedly arrange incestuous and sometimes underage marriages between teenage girls and adult men with exalted status to produce hundreds of children.
The suit alleges episodes of rape aimed at forcing pregnancy, group members covering up years of sexual abuse and indoctrinating children in elementary school about plural marriage.
In her complaint, Amanda Rae Grant claims she was assigned to work in her early teens at Advance Copy, where wedding announcements and invitations were printed, because “wedding pictures of little girls marrying men in incestuous or plural marriages could not be printed at Walmart”.
While the Kingston Group, founded in 1935, is not affilated with the FLDS, members practice a fundamentalist version of Mormonism that involves polygamy. Members are primarily born into the organization whose leader Paul Elden Kingston is known as “the Man in the Watch Tower”.